In New Hampshire today, Governor John Lynch (D) exercised his veto power over the state’s medical marijuana bill, which had been passed last month by New Hampshire’s legislature with a vote of 232-108 in the House and 14-10 in the Senate.
Clearly the majority of the People of New Hampshire, presuming the state legislators vote with some latent desire of keeping their jobs, have indicated their approval of the medical use of marijuana for patients in their state. Apparently however, Governor Lynch cares less about the People of New Hampshire than he does about keeping his job. Maybe he is thinking Sarah Palin made that commercial fishing look good. I am sure many Americans would readily agree with him, at least on that point.
Now it is up to the New Hampshire’s legislators to step back up to the plate and speak loudly for their constituents. With Governor Lynch’s veto, a House vote of 267 in favor is now required, with 16 votes now needed in the Senate. Looks like a few more “public servants” in New Hampshire are going to have to toe the line for the People. Otherwise, another clear message is sent that those in power too often exercise their personal agendas over the rights of the People.
Here in Tennessee, this past legislative session produced two companion bills for medical marijuana in both bodies of the Tennessee legislature. Both were essentially tabled to be resumed at a later time. One can only hope the break will give its sponsors time to put some real teeth into the resolutions and provide help and hope for those suffering from non-life threatening illnesses known to be quite treatable with medicinal cannabis.
Over a dozen states now permit medical marijuana patients to obtain this herbal treatment that has been a medicinal staple of mankind for at least four thousand years. California, after several years of medical cannabis proliferation, despite the recently reduced federal harassment that went with it, is now seeing so much benefit that serious contemplation of full legalization is being considered as an economic aid desperately needed by the state’s government.
One only needs to research our history to see that legal cannabis in America would not be unprecedented. Many are unaware that in addition to being legal in America on more than one occasion, at one time, you could even pay your taxes with cannabis/hemp. They say that money doesn’t grow on trees. Well at one time in America, it did. Even more interesting, is that today, the United States is the only country in the civilized world to ban its farmers from growing industrial hemp. It is certainly no secret that hemp itself has been a staple of mankind since the dawn of agricultural cultivation. Some even suspect that hemp may have been the first member of our botanical world to be cultivated by man. Yet American farmers continue to be driven off of the land many of their families have farmed for generations, unable to compete against Big Ag in more traditional markets and banned by law from pursuing profits growing a product less harmful than tobacco.
Yet today, here in America, land of the free, home of the brave, where you and I are free to peruse any number of “legalized sin” from alcohol and tobacco to strip tease and bunny ranches, God’s most perfect botanical wonder (yes, I actually wrote God’s name like He has something to really do with all of this) is withheld from the People of the United States, due in no small part to the misguided dark fantasies about a drug many like Governor Lynch have no personal use or desire for. The People aren’t asking for a law that mandates all Americans must now start using cannabis. Just abolish the laws that prohibit those who do have good and viable uses for it. Most importantly, as with other vices allowed by law to legal adults today, allow the People the freedom to choose for themselves.
The state by state marijuana debate provides just one example of the myriad of resources and strategies that could and have been successfully implemented right here in America to build our economy and our nation. Why then, does the government, consistently at every level across the country, continue to make decisions that, when measured by common sense, repeatedly fail to measure up? Why, despite the outcries of growing numbers of angry citizens, do our so-called leaders continue to make choices like Governor Lynch, choices that oppose the clear desires of the People?
Cap & Trade, gay marriage, just war, fiscal irresponsibility, too big to fail. When will the men and women who claim a legacy of “public service” actually serve the public?
Legislators from Nashville to Sacramento to Washington DC and everywhere in between need to return the power to its rightful owners and serve selflessly, casting aside their personal agendas. If they can’t do that, maybe they should consider a job with MSNBC.
For more info: Visit the Marijuana Policy Project website for more information on public demand vs. political power in the American cannabis debate.
You can learn about getting involved in Nashville area activism for relegalizing cannabis by contacting the Nashville Chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) through the NORML website.
By D.R. Smith
July 10, 2009